The Chariot is the eighth Major Arcanum and is the seventh stage of the Fool’s Journey narrative. Following this, with the Chariot; the Fool passes his raw, unripe chapter and upon his discovery of himself, his identity and potential; he sets a foot to the quests of life and into the ripening stage.
In this card, the charioteer is depicted as a young man standing in a stone chariot with wheels of gold. He is fair-haired and has a princely look. He is attired with an armor that covers all of his body; with only his hands and head remaining uncovered. The skirts of his armor his embroidered with alchemical signs (1), and the shoulder parts show lunar crescents. On his breastplate; there are a white square and a yellow six-pointed star. On his head, he wears a laurel wreath and over that, he wears a crown; again showing a six-pointed star. Furthermore, the tilt over the chariot is also decorated with six-pointed stars. On his right hand, he holds a wand. At the front of the chariot, a winged sun and a shield that shows the Hindu symbol of Lingham and Yoni (2) is damasked. In front of the chariot there are two sphinxes; in black and white colors respectively. Behind the chariot, there is a river streaming; and far behind; the walls of a medieval city is visible.
The charioteer, having accumulated and learned what he needs in his quests; is leaving the security and comfort represented by the castle, to realize himself. The laurel wreath on his head correspond to his triumphs, yet the lunar crescents and the six-pointed stars denote that his spiritual development is far from complete. Supporting this claim; The alchemical signs on his skirt, indicate a self-transformational ambition. The square on the breastplate symbolizes the strong foundation the Charioteer has built. Having said that, it also makes it clear that the masculine energy; the leaning to action and the attachment to the physical world is still puissant, even though he yearns to grow or develop out of them.
.The Winged Sun not only denotes the power and royalty but also implies the “true light”, which gives life force to all living things. The Sphinxes are of opposite colors, representing the beginning and completion of the circular journey and two aspects of the genesis: the existence and the nothingness. Here, it is also worth noting that the word sphinx means the “living image” and is associated with wardenship. “Lingham and Yoni” represents duality and unity and suggest that having completed the first phase of his journey; the charioteer has reached a level of mastery; a mastery over his person and body. The river behind the chariot puts forward that out of the awarenesses he gained in the first phase, the charioteer is consciously attracted to new quests and ready for the second phase of his journey.
To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.
(1) Gauding, M. (2009). The Signs and Symbols Bible. London: Godsfield, p. 188.
(2) Het Bewuste Pad : Linga(m) – Yoni. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from hetbewustepad.nl/index.php?nws_id=88